As reported by NJ.com, New Jersey has pledged $4 million to equip every New Jersey State Trooper and thousands more local police officers with body cameras as demand for the technology rises in the wake of several high-profile police-involved shootings in the United States.
Body cameras, though increasingly ubiquitous in policing, are not yet standard gear for New Jersey law enforcement. Fewer than a dozen communities use body cameras, Acting Attorney General John Hoffman said in announcing the grants. The State will purchase cameras for 1,000 State Troopers with $1.5 million from the State Police budget, as well as hand out $2.5 million to local law enforcement agencies, funded through criminal forfeitures, to purchase cameras and other equipment.
While the State won’t require that all officers are outfitted with body cameras, the Attorney General’s Office issued a set of statewide rules that dictate when cameras must be on, when they can by shut off and who can view the footage. The directive is intended to cut down on an individual officer’s discretion in this field, according to Hoffman’s report. Municipalities have 60 days to bring their own individual policies into compliance with the Attorney General’s directive.
This announcement follows Hoffman’s statements to state lawmakers in April that his office was studying the role of body cameras, and that while his “instincts and intuition are certainly pro-body camera,” he had concerns about how their use might infringe on privacy in cases such as domestic abuse or assault.